(TELESUR) – Former Florida neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who murdered unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, launched Wednesday a US$100m lawsuit for damages against the deceased boy’s family and lawyers, arguing they used a fake witness to testify against him.
Zimmerman shot and killed Martin, 17, on Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, after the young boy went to a convenience store to buy snacks. He was found not guilty in 2013 by a jury in a highly politicized trial that triggered a debate in the United States over racial injustice and incited the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement
“Imagine killing an unarmed child and then suing his parents,” tweeted Center for Policing Equity president Phillip Atiba Goff.
In a 36-page lawsuit filed by the attorney Larry Klayman – founder of the right-wing legal group Judicial Watch – Zimmerman asserts his reputation was destroyed by a prosecution he says was “malicious”, adding he suffers from “depression and PTSD” and lives in continuous fear of attack and “often receives death threats when he appears in public”.
He also claims that the civil rights attorney who has represented Martin’s parents since their son’s death, Benjamin Crump, defames him in a book recently published: Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People.
During the trial in 2013, prosecutors argued Zimmerman profiled, pursued and confronted the black youth as the evidence presented a recording of a call to the Sanford police department in which Zimmerman said he was following the teen. “OK, we don’t need you to do that,” a dispatcher had told Zimmerman.
The accusations of using a false witness are based on the testimony of a teenager, Rachel Jeantel, who the lawsuit claims testified as Martin’s girlfriend in her half-sister Brittany Diamond Eugene’s place.
The lawsuit claims the “conspiracy” to have Jeantel testify instead of her sister was planned when prosecutors failed to persuade Eugene to testify against Zimmerman.
Crump said in a statement on behalf of himself and Martin’s parents that he has confidence that the “unfounded and reckless” lawsuit will be revealed as “another failed attempt to defend the indefensible and a shameless attempt to profit off the lives and grief of others.”